Jul 30, 2014

West Essex Student Texts Bomb Threat, Police Say

High school and middle school placed under lockdown Wednesday morning.

West Essex Student Texts Bomb Threat, Police Say

West Essex Regional Schools in North Caldwell were placed under lockdown Wednesday morning after a student allegedly claimed to have brought explosives to school, police officials said. 

An investigation found no evidence of a bomb at either West Essex Middle School or West Essex High School, which are located on the same campus, North Caldwell Chief Mark Deuer said.

According to Deuer, police responded to the campus at approximately 8:48 a.m. and quickly located the middle school boy who allegedly made the threat over a text message.

North Caldwell and Fairfield police are currently questioning the boy and possible charges, including creating a false public alarm, are pending, the chief said.

According to police, a student alerted officials about the text message this morning and the schools were immediately told to go into lockdown.

The boy, as well as his locker and backpack, were checked by the Essex County Bomb Squad’s K-9 unit, which also did a sweep of the schools.

“After our initial investigation and interviewing the student,” Deuer said, “ we determined that none of the students are in harm’s way.” 

The chief said, “The text alluded to the fact that the student had explosives and was upset about a situation at school.”

In addition to North Caldwell Police, officers from Fairfield, Essex Fells, Roseland and West Caldwell, as well as the North Caldwell Fire Department and West Essex First Aid Squad, responded to the schools as part of lockdown procedure.

"Police declared both school buildings safe and called off the lockdown at 9:26 a.m.," according to a statement released by the school district. Students and faculty were ordered to shelter in place, which means they could come out of hiding and resume classes.

The shelter in place order was lifted at 9:40 a.m. at the high school and 10:20 a.m. at the middle school, according to the district. 

"As always at West Essex, our students’ safety and security is paramount," Superintendent Barbara Longo said.

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